The winter so far has been relatively kind to our hardier bumblebees. We have had worker buff tailed bumblebees Bombus terrestris foraging in our garden in 9 out of the last 10 weeks. One queen was even seen in flight on 7th February when there was a layer of snow on the ground – perhaps an individual that had been disturbed.
There has been a bit more variety this week with the appearance of the early bumblebee Bombus pratorum and the tree bumblebee Bombus hypnorum. This latter species, first seen in the UK in 2001, looks like it is getting well established in the village. Both species were feeding on shrubby honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima which has been a good nectar source throughout the winter.
Also out today was a red admiral Vanessa atalanta, my first butterfly observation of the year.